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How to get off the bottle and onto a cup.

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

I often get emailed about how to wean a child off a bottle or how much much a toddler should be drinking.

When babies are born they have a very strong sucking reflex, this innate ability to latch onto something, is what helps them thrive!

Anything that goes skims a babies mouth is at risk of getting sucked in!

Your breast, your neck, your cloths, your finger. Anything they can grab onto.

Babies are oral learners, they engage and learn about their environment though their mouths.

It does not have to be hard, and if you have a young child and want to avoid them having the bottle for a prolonged period of time OR if you are a parent of an older child and want to

Sucking on the bottle, breast or soother are all forms of comfort.

Whther the baby is fed by the bottle or by the breast, its still a combination of sucking and warm liquid.

I can see how as children get older, parents become worried about taking it away, for the fear of removing 'comfort'.


1. Normalize the cup early on.

Make your focus normalizing THE CUP, by offering water in it as soon as your child is exploring solid food.

Serve the cup with water, at all meals that take place in a high chair, or eating at a table.

Don't expect your little one to drink copious amounts like they have just ran a race, its called a SIPPY cup for a reason.

They will literally just sip it, and thats fine, let them play with it, explore it and spill it.

2. Consistency, getting ready to swap.

If you just cut your baby off from the bottle and went straight for the cup, there would be a huge decline in milk intake.

For both breastfed and bottle fed babies, around 9 months, choose a middle of the day feeding (between 10am and 2pm) and offer milk (either expressed breastmilk or formula) into a sippy cup to replace a feeding.

DO this at ONE FEED only to begin with. Let your child learn how to drink milk from another source without risking the milk intake overall.

Expect your child to be upset initially, expect that they may look confused, or like they dont know what to do with it. You might even get some tears. Often babies will drink water from the cup but not milk, but its only because they aren to used to it.

If you are worried about them being hungry (very common) DON'T offer the bottle or your breast as a back up if your goal is to swap the feed over, instead offer a small snack and water in the sippy cup. To help with the calories, use dairy products instead. Cheese / yoghurt are good alternatives.

1oz cheese = 6floz milk

2 tablespoons of yoghurt = 4floz milk.

3. Commitment.

Perseverance pays off, only if you re consistent will your child be too - don't buy 10 cups, tons of different tops, and keep switching them out.

Choose one and stick with it to help your child learn how to use it.

If you trade too often, they will never get the hang of it, and in between the changes, you will end up offering the bottle again, which can often result in them resisting the cup even more.

4. The Snip (and I'm not talking vasectomy).

I recently made a TIK TOK video about how to remove a soother, you can do the exact same thing with a bottle - want to see it ? CLICK HERE

It's easier for older children if you present the bottle in a broken form, versus saying you are not allowed to have it any more, as this often leads to tears, which most parents want to avoid at all costs.

You also don't want to put pressure on them by telling them that they are a 'big boy' or 'big girl'. As this language can be confusing.

Need more help? Contact me :)

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